Anyone who reads Modern Safety knows that the team at Field ID loves technology – everything from software to mobile devices and the web (all of the things that come together to make our industry-leading safety software). We love cool gadgets. And if you read some of my past posts about rugged handhelds, it wouldn’t take long to figure out that we love devices and “tech-ccessories” that help our devices survive harsher environments or circumstances than the average mobile.
So when a couple videos surfaced of an iPad case that can keep the device safe after a fall from space, we had to check it out. The case in question is The G-Form Extreme Sleeve 2. The G-Form case is made up of some proprietary materials that stiffen upon an impact and absorb about 90% of any potential damaging energy, thus saving your iPad from cracked screens or device death. The G-Form is also flexible, lightweight and water resistant.
About one week ago, the people at G-Form released a video titled “iPad Survives 100,000+ Foot Fall From Space Near Area 51.” Basically, they wrapped an iPad with their product, tied it to a balloon, and tracked the fall from the edge of space.
Now, I am a bit skeptical. We’ve seen a lot of videos about Apple products taking damage, including G-Form’s recent appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show, where they dropped bowling balls on an iPad wearing a G-Form Extreme Sleeve. But something about a device surviving a freefall from space just feels a little unbelievable – especially when you look at the damage that resulted when MSNBC Gadgetbox performed a drop test from the top of a three storey building (Warning: The link to that video leads to graphic images that may disturb some Apple fans). Gadgetbox noted that their jury is still out on whether the G-Form video is real or not, but they also said, “There’s clearly some weighted apparatus in place to ensure that the tablet lands cushion down and reasonably flat.”
Our Chief Technology Officer is one of the smartest guys I know, so I asked him what he thought about the fall from space. Here’s what he had to say: “I’m a little dubious as to the physics of it. I’d expect the terminal velocity of an object of that size to be pretty high, and I’d be pretty surprised if their case could dampen that enough to make it survivable. Also, the camera survived when it hit the ground. Was the camera in a similar case? Finally, the ride down was pretty stable. I would expect an unbalanced setup like that to tumble as it fell. What I think they did there is actually attached a drogue chute to the camera rig both to stabilize the descent for filming and make it a survivable impact.”
And there you have it.
The G-Form case looks like it could take the rigours of a shop, construction site or any other environment that demands rugged protection for a fragile device, but we’re not so sure about the fall from space in this case. And we wouldn’t consider the iPad to be a rugged handheld, but with the right case it might do the job – depending on your needs.